Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Rare, Surreal Find Along Oregon, Washington Coast: Red Towers

Published 02/06/21 at 4:56 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Rare, Surreal Find Along Oregon, Washington Coast: Red Towers

(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – One of the stranger winter finds along the Oregon coast would have to be the “red towers” - surreal, reddish formations that come in an endless variety of shapes and sizes. Red towers don't even have to be towers, and in fact they're frequently something else entirely. They can often show as odd little, winding chunks of crust.

To some they'll look like a drawing out of Dr. Suess; to others they'll resemble the striking album art of Roger Dean and the Yes albums of the ‘70s.

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; major specials now that storm watch season is here
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
major specials for winter
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Winter's enticing specials now
In Lincoln City:
major winter specials now
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
major specials this season
In Newport:
Look for many specials starting November
In Waldport
New amenities offered; specials and tempting prices now
In Yachats, Florence
Big deal available; lodgings not listed anywhere else
Southern Oregon Coast Hotels / Lodgings
Reedsport to Brookings, places to stay; winter deals

Essentially, they're rather rare and only show up when sand levels get extremely low. Even then they're not around for long. Red towers can't take the tidal action very well and usually disintegrate within a few days to a week or so. Right now, however, there is that possibility to find them wherever there's newly gouged-out beaches, especially if the bedrock is showing. With some reports of ghost forests happening around the Oregon coast this last month that's a hint. If you see ghost forests they could be near.

Some areas of the Washington coast may also present these, depending on the geology of the area.

However, the year-round ghost forest of Neskowin won't yield these sights. Sand levels don't get low enough there.

What are the red towers?

It's a fairly simple but eyebrow-raising explanation, according to Seaside geologist Tom Horning.

Basically, beach sand is cemented by red iron oxide, formed beneath feet of sand layers, likely ten feet or more.

“Minerals cement the sands together to form reinforced, irregular bodies within and under the beach, which are then exposed to the casual observer when the beach is washed away,” Horning said. “Not uncommonly, the tops of the towers are exposed first, and rocks will wear these away, creating little pot-hole craters that make attractive landforms for photographers.”

Those minerals and structures are present beneath beach sands all the time, and only when the sand levels get dug out low enough do they show up. Then it's not long before they're gone.

With most of storm season wrapped up, you're chances of finding them are greatly diminished. But not impossible.

Where to find red towers on the Oregon coast?

See the full gallery of these below

Arch Cape and Hug Point south of Cannon Beach are known for producing these on occasion if ghost forests and bedrock are showing there. They've been spotted on the central Oregon coast even more rarely at ghost forest sites like Moolack Beach.

On the southern Oregon coast the criteria would be the same: bedrock and / or sand levels that have dropped suddenly because of storms. It is, of course, not guaranteed anywhere.

In the past, Oregon Coast Beach Connection has collected a variety of interesting examples in-camera. No two formations are ever the same, so no year's appearance of them is ever similar either. Just like the Vulcans on Star Trek say: “Infinite diversity in infinite combinations.”

Oregon Coast Hotels for this event - Where to eat - Map - Virtual Tour


MORE PHOTOS BELOW









More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....



Coastal Spotlight


LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Camping Returns to S. Oregon Coast's Cape Blanco State Park
The campground will reopen on March 2 after being closed last March
Brits on Telly Get Silly with Oregon Coast Exploding Whale Song | Video
British comedian Jimmy Carr at the helm, one comedy / game show in Britain featured the new tune. Sciences, history
Cue Micheal Jackson: 'Zombie' Whales of Oregon Coast History
A rather amusing newspaper article about a whale stranding decades ago. Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport
Three Weird to Wacky Facts About Depoe Bay, Central Oregon Coast
Kooky park, blobs going back millions of years, and 'little flying men'. Geology, history
Charleston Marina on South Oregon Coast: Where Placid Meets the Raucous
A bit more manmade yet somehow truly rugged all at once: crabbing, clamming and rich sunsets
Fossil Bed Hotbed on Oregon Coast Right Now - Where to Look
Parts of the Oregon coast are a hotbed of ancient rockbeds, creating not just prime agate hunting possibilities but lots of fossil finds. Sciences, geology
Auto Camps to Motor Lodges and Motels on Oregon Coast | History Part 2
After 1920, auto camps replaced rickety tents, giving way to motor lodges, hotels. Sciences
From Rugged Tents to Real Rooms: Evolution of Oregon Coast Overnight Stays Pa...
Tent cities, to cabins, auto parks, a unique thing called motor lodges, and then finally to motels. History sciences

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright BeachConnection.net Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted